Some Conclusions for a Deliberative Process

Central to our concept of risk evaluation and management is the attempt to initiate a deliberative process, because rational criteria of evaluation ought to be applied in discursive settings and communicated to the political decision makers and the public at large. So the deliberation for an adequate risk-policy should take place within a multistage communication process that is characterized by forms of mutual consultation and a public network of communication.

To assure a rational risk-evaluation and an effective risk-corn-munication as part of an overall deliberative procedure, profound scientific knowledge is required, especially of the main criteria of risk evaluation—probability of occurrence, extent of damage, and incertitude—and to the additional evaluative criteria as well. This knowledge has to be collected by scientists and risk professionals who are recognized as competent authorities in the respective risk field. The experiences of risk experts from different technological or environmental fields constitute a comprehensive body of risk knowledge. The systematic search for the 'state of the art' leads to a knowledge base that provides the data for each of the evaluation criteria.

In the framework of the last annual report about the management of global environmental risks the German Scientific Advisory Council on Global Change recommended and initiated such a deliberative process. A number of risk potentials were characterized based on the evaluation criteria, and the respective management strategies were developed. The results were compiled by scientists who possess the relevant insights and are able to reflect the state of the art. The results of these considerations were then communicated to the respective ministries, to other experts, to the science community, to industry, to stakeholders, and to the public.

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